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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #1
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I need some starting tips for working with Panasonic HDC-TM700 and Vegas

I'm teaching a friend of mine to edit with Sony Vegas Pro 9.

He just bought a new Panasonic HDC-TM700 camcorder.

Some questions regarding using this camera and editing material shot with it on Vegas:

1. What video format settings are recommended that he use with the Panny TM700? I've seen different quality settings HE, HA, HX... and so on. I've also read that currently it doesn't make any sense to use the highest setting with Vegas. Can someone please explain this to me?
What would be the recommended settings for highest quality video - while keeping things to a basic non-professional workflow. I mean by this that he has no special hi-end technology available. Only a rather strong PC and a copy of Vegas. He wants to shoot videos, edit them and watch them on his tv set. Nothing more than that.

2. What would be the recommended workflow for getting the material from camera to hard disk and prepared for editing with Vegas? Is there any need for a 3rd party program to capture the clips from the camera? Or does he capture them with Vegas as he did with DV footage? Should he use the software that Panasonic packs with the TM700? Will he need to use some sort of intermediate codec? Or conversion software?

By the way, we are in PAL land and his HDC-TM700 is a PAL model.

Thanks!
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Old August 19th, 2010, 12:17 PM   #2
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I own the TM700 and several others; it's by far the best. Here are the details:

1. Shoot only in the highest progressive mode - the others options on the TM700 are shot at a lower bitrate and not nearly as sharp.

2. I'm working from another computer so I can't be sure, but I believe that only Vegas 9 32-bit can open the files. You don't need to "capture" them like in the old days of DV or HDV - you just drag'n'drop them from the internal memory (or card, if you're shooting to a memory card) through a USB cable onto the Vegas time line. Use Project settings set for progressive, full frame rate, full size (1920x1080), with deinterlace method set for "none."

3. I always render it to an intra-frame codec immediately, then use the rendered clip for much easier, glitch-free editing. Cineform is the best, but a bit expensive at $99 U.S. from Videoguys; but PicVideo is faster, produces smaller file sizes, and is only $30 U.S. for home use from

PicVideo Upgrade Special

- and it produces nice progressive clips

4. After I create the PicVideo clip, I put it into Vegas 8c-32 bit for editing. If he has paid for Vegas 9x, he's allowed to also download and install 8x. Never a glitch with 8c. while editing. But 8c is no good for rendering unless the project is very simple and not too long. So, after editing is complete, I open the .VEG in 9e-64bit for rendering. 64-bit versions of Vegas will read the PicVideo files by default even though you have not installed a 64-bit version of PicVideo (it's too expensive).

5. Now comes the time for rendering to final delivery format. If going to the web, I choose a smaller image size - maybe 960x540 or even 640x360, and only 24p instead of 60p (try 25 fps for your PAL videos). It'll be a bit jerky, but not too bad (movies are 24 fps).

I use TMPGenc to make interlaced DVDs straight from 60fps progressive files, but DVDA should be able to do the same - or any number of other software packages, including free ones (you might first have to render out to MPEG-2 video from within Vegas). I don't own BluRay, but you can burn interlaced BD from rendered files from Vegas with free software too.

If intended for viewing on a computer, render out to MPG4 using MainConcept or X264.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 08:46 PM   #3
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Oh, and a free intermediate that is OK if you don't want to spend money: Sony MXF
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 06:52 PM   #4
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Thanks Larry.

Sorry it took some time to respond to your reply post. I've been spending my free hours of the past few days reading stuff on the web about video file formats, wrappers, bit rates and codecs - trying to get a better grip on what is going on...

I think the reading DID in fact help me learn stuff I didn't know before. Also finally understood what has been confusing me for a while - that some codecs and container file formats share the same name...

if anyone stumbling on this thread is interested in some good references. here's a couple:

A gentle introduction to video encoding, part 2: lossy video codecs [dive into mark]

Video Encoding: Codecs, Formats, Containers And Settings Explained

Now back to matters - regarding Vegas and TM700 footage...

If I understand you correctly your recommended workflow is:


a. import raw clips into Vegas 9
b. render entire footage using intermediate codec (with i-frame setting)
c. then import the rendered clip into Vegas 8 for editing
d. later, after editing is done, open .veg file in Vegas 9 and render according to final product.

Is that correct?

I just have some questions - for yourself, or for anyone else who might have some experience with these matters...

Why are you editing in Vegas 8? Is there some problem with Vegas 9? I've had some experience editing HDV 1080/50i footage from a Sony Sony Z-1U on Vegas 9 and it was fine. But no experience with AVCHD. Is Vegas 9 not handling those files well?

2. Although reading through several posts, I don't remember coming across PicVideo.
I've heard about: Huffyuv, Avid DNxHD and a couple of others - experiences of Vegas users with these (free) codecs were mixed.
Then there's the option of the more expensive Cineform Neo Scene. Most seem to recommend it. Yet I came across a kind of confusing thread in a forum... something to do with Sony not purchasing a license for Cineform.... or something like that.
here's the link: Where is Cineform Codec in Vegas 9

Looking forward to your replies. THX!
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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You've got it pretty much right, I believe - but I refreshed my memory now that I'm back on my video-editing computer and I see that I can open the TM700 files in all 3: Vegas 8c, 9c-32 bit, and 9e-64 bit (it's the .MP4 clips from my Sanyo cams that must be opened in Vegas 9).

And, yes, I have found that only 8c is quirk-free always - when editing. But, for rendering, it often fails. For that reason, I always render in 64-bit unless I must de-interlace a clip (for which I use the fields-only setting of Mike Crash Smart Deinterlace), or must render a clip that uses a 32-bit codec (such as Cinepak, the default output, and sometimes only possible output, of Google's free Sketchup).

In such cases, I render using 9c-32: Unclick everything under the View menu, set rendering threads to 1, click Clean Project Media under the Tools menu, and generally it can render the .VEGs produced by 8c. You can watch the performance tab of the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) so that you can be sure that rendering hasn't aborted prematurely (rendering is much more reliable in 9c-32 than in 8c, but not as iron-clad as 9c-64).

If that doesn't work, I delete half the timeline, save to a new .VEG in 9c-32, then render as above, using Cineform or PicVideo; then render the other half with another .VEG; then put the two resultant rendered clips onto a new project TL in 9e-64 and render to a final .AVI - again, usually using Cineform or, if quality need not be the best, PicVideo.

As mentioned, I keep all in progressive rather than interlaced, because then I have a final output file that is progressive and can always be downgraded to interlaced, or with 24 fps instead of 60fps (25/50 for PAL).

As implied, Cineform is best. Once it came free with Vegas, but no longer. Generally, Vegas seems to be more stable if just one video codec is on the TL. So, if you start with, say, PicVideo, then all the clips also should use that codec - don't mix in Cineform, .MP4, MJPEG (such as PicVideo), etc.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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Okay. Thanks for your input!
Today we downloaded NeoScene and tried it out. things went rather well, although i should mention that we didn't do any hardcore editing, no large number of video tracks and no effects.

I'd like to give you a rundown of how we did things and questions that came up as we went along...

1) We set the Panasonic HDC-TM700 to 1080/50p and shot some footage with it.
First question: Is 1080/50p the ONLY progressive recording mode the TM700 has? Can it shoot 25p?

2) We started up NeoScene and plugged in the Panny TM700 (via usb). NeoScene has two tabs - Capture and Convert. The Capture tab seemed irrelevant, since it failed to recognize that any sort of device had been connected. Also, the camera doesn't record to tape... so I'm guessing there's no need for "capturing".

3) Next step was to copy the video files from camera to the hard drive.
Second question: During earlier tests with the camera we shot in HG mode (not 1080/50p). We used the Panasonic software that came packaged with the camera to copy the files to the computer's hard drive. We noticed that the file format suffix was m2ts.
Today we shot in 1080/50p and we didn't use the software that came with the camera. Rather, we manually browsed through the camera's internal memory till we eventually found the material in one of the folders there. Curiously, the files there had a different suffix - MTS. Is this due to the different shooting modes? or is it because of not using the Panasonic software? What does this mean?

4) After copying files to the hard drive, we just loaded them into NeoScene Converter tab and hit START. NeoScene made a cineform encoded avi file of each MTS file.
Two questions here: a) Since NeoScene does the conversion, we didn't quite understand why we would need to first load the clips into Vegas and render the clips into cineform encoded files through Vegas. Is there something here I'm missing? Also converting the files via NeoScene keeps them as a collection of numbered clips. If we were to render them all from the Vegas timeline, we'd end up with one long file which seems kind of awkward to me. b) the avi files that NeoScene made were many times larger than the MTS files we originally threw at it for conversion. Is that normal? I thought that the files would actually be smaller... hence easier editing. What is going on?

5) Anyway, as mentioned, the cineform encoded avi files played back a bit clunky in Vegas, but in general it was fine. Cutting, moving, pasting... it all went smoothly. No crashes or anything like that. We only used Vegas 9 Pro throughout the whole process.

So that's how far we got today. We'd like to better understand what is going on and be sure we're doing this right before we attempt to take it a step further.

Thanks!
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Old August 24th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #7
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"Can it shoot 25p?"

It has something called "Cinema mode" - which is 24p in NTSC-land, probably 25p in PAL-land; but don't use it - the resolution is lower . . . stick to 50p.

". . . different suffix - MTS" - that's how I see them too - just drag and drop them onto the vegas timeline or onto your hard disk. I've never used the Panasonic software, so can't comment on it.

" . . . we didn't quite understand why we would need to first load the clips into Vegas and render the clips into cineform encoded files through Vegas." - either way is fine. I use vegas because I'm more likely to have it open, and I use a plugin from Peachrock (Veggie Toolbox) to batch render each individual clip, if that's what I want to do.

"avi files that NeoScene made were many times larger than the MTS files" - that's right. Cineform is an INTRAframe codec, not an INTERframe codec, like the .MTS files. The latter type of codec re-uses info from previous frames if the data for those pixels has not changed, making for smaller files. But in order to de-compress, the CPU/RAM must search back through the frames to find the orginal data for each pixel that has been re-using data, and all this searching consumes lots of CPU cycles as the individual pixels are calculated to reconstruct the entire frame.

The larger files from Cineform do demand a fast hard disk (I use a pair of ordinary SATA disks in a RAID 0 box that I got for $27 U.S. on ebay, incl. shipping), but the load on the CPU/RAM is quite low (because each compressed frame contains the entire set of data for every pixel), making the editing process much more efficient - you may even have enough CPU capability left over to process some effects in real time.

If you use a RAID 0 disk array using 2 or 4 disks for holding Cineform 50p files, editing will be very smooth. If you don't want to buy a RAID box, you can use software RAID with 2 ordinary SATA disks by right-clicking My Computer, then clicking Manage (search Google for software RAID instructions).

It's possible that you might be able to avoid RAID by using PicVideo (= smaller files) and 50p on a single SATA disk. I can't quite get smooth playback at 60p, but - not having a PAL cam - I haven't tried it with 50p. You might try it.

After I re-rendered the same scene 6 times, I could see a slight superiority in the Cineform over the PicVideo; but in every day work, you'd probably be hard pressed to ever see any difference. PicVideo might be the way to go for you.

Last edited by Larry Reavis; August 24th, 2010 at 01:03 PM. Reason: additional thought came to me
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Old August 26th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #8
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Hi. Good news and bad news...

The good news is that editing is perfect in Vegas 9 using the cineform avi files (converted with the trial version of NeoScene). Preview is smooth, no stalls or crashes.

The bad news hit when we tried rendering some video. We tried rendering 15 minutes on the timeline to mpg-2 video stream. Nothing out of the ordinary, just one track of video and three tracks of sound, a bit of effects. The render process crashed at about the 10 minute point. We got a message: "Not enough virtual memory" (or something along those lines...).

Windows and Programs (including Vegas) reside on a 80 GB system dedicated drive. There is about 40GB available on it.

The .veg file is on a different drive - E:. The .avi files are also stored on the E: drive. It is a 500GB drive and currently has 170GB availible.
I know that it is reccommended to have a separate dedicated drive for storing the original footage. If this is the culprit, he'll get a new drive for video material. But could there be another reason? Is there a way to increase virtual memory for Vegas to access?

Other than that, his computer is rather new and from what I've read, it meets the requirements for this sort of task.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciate help with this.

By the way, Larry, I really want to thank you for sticking with me on this issue and for your advice. We've decided to test out NeoScene till the trial period runs out. Then we'll give PicVideo a try. It may very well be that PicVideo could be better for his needs.... we'll see.

THX!
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Old August 26th, 2010, 01:48 PM   #9
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32-bit versions of Vegas crash during rendering, but I'm surprised that your simple project crashed. Were you using a 32-bit version of Vegas?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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yes. vegas 9 pro 32-bit on windows xp.

are you saying that there is no way to work with the cineform clips with this version of vegas?

are there any work-arounds?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:19 PM   #11
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I try to avoid 32-bit versions of Vegas when rendering. However, as mentioned above, it can be done:

"In such cases, I render using 9c-32: Unclick everything under the View menu; set rendering threads to 1 (under the Video tab in Preferences); click Clean Project Media under the Tools menu, and generally it can render the .VEGs produced by 8c. You can watch the performance tab of the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del) so that you can be sure that rendering hasn't aborted prematurely (rendering is much more reliable in 9c-32 than in 8c, but not as iron-clad as 9c-64).

If that doesn't work, I delete half the timeline, save to a new .VEG in 9c-32, then render as above, using Cineform or PicVideo; then render the other half with another .VEG; then put the two resultant rendered clips onto a new project TL in 9e-64 and render to a final .AVI - again, usually using Cineform or, if quality need not be the best, PicVideo."

I also should mention that it helps to start rendering immediately after a reboot. Also, note where the rendering stops. If it stops on a really large still, decrease the dimensions; but this rarely is needed with Vegas 9x.

It does help to render to a separate disk, but shouldn't be necessary.

Are you using WinXP-32 . . . is that why you're trying to render with the 32-bit version of Vegas?
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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Reavis View Post
Are you using WinXP-32 . . . is that why you're trying to render with the 32-bit version of Vegas?
Yes. 32-bit WinXP.
Currently 64-bit is not an option. I'll need to deal with it somehow using the 32-bit.
By the way - everything I described above was done with Vegas 9c only. We did not use Vegas 8 at all.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 07:22 AM   #13
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If you're having rendering issues, the two biggest things to try:

1. Reduce the RAM preview amount to a very small number - like 16. I would NOT go to zero but it won't hurt if you want to try it at zero.

2. Reduce the number of rendering threads to 1.

I have never heard a tip to close extra open windows in the Vegas GUI. I'm unsure how much, if any, that would help. It can't hurt to stop extraneous programs from running in the background, though. But I'd try the two steps above first.
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Old August 28th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #14
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yes, I forgot to mention set RAM preview to 0 (that works best for me). But most important is to set rendering threads to 1 (in the Video tab of Preferences).

Vegas 9 at least usually does us the favor of leaving a partially rendered clip that is usable. Reboot, then put that Cineform clip on a new track above the original, then hold the left mouse button as you wipe across the timeline to select the remainder. Then render, but with a checkmark in the "render looped area only" box. If it fails again, put the second clip on the TL and go at it again . . . etc. until all the timeline is full of Cineform renders. Then render the entire project to a final Cineform clip. then you can put that clip on a new top track and render to whatever format desired (.MP4 for the web, MPEG2 for DVD, etc.)

If worse comes to worst, you can increase the RAM available to Vegas from 2GB up to a bit more than that even in WinXP-32. . . see

Sony Creative Software - Forums - Vegas Pro - Video Messages

(I'm presuming that you have 4GB RAM in the computer.) I haven't needed to do that, but you might give it a try. It is said to help a lot in Win7-64, but also seems to help some in 32-bit OS too.

Personally, I haven't had much luck turning off background services, but if you're running an antivirus program, etc., it can't hurt.
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Old August 29th, 2010, 08:31 AM   #15
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Thank Larry and thanks Edward for the advice.

So this is what we did:

1. Reduced RAM preview to 16.
2. Set rendering threads to 1.
3. Quit all unnecessary running processes.

This seems to have improved things slightly but not quite a working solution yet. Rendering 10 minutes succeeded. Rendering 15 minutes failed at around the 12 minute point.

Larry, I read the thread from the link you posted. While most of the technical stuff they write about is beyond what I can understand - it seems to be a good solution that works for some. If this were my own computer - I'd probably give it a try, but since I'm helping this dude out on HIS computer - I'd rather not go into that kind of teaking without knowing exactly what I'm doing.
My girlfriend who is a photographer just bought a Canon 5D mark ii just a few weeks ago and I'm planning on trying out its HD video. So I'm guessing that I'll be running into much of the same problems discussed here in this thread, since I'm running Vegas 9 on 32-bit WinXP as well. So I might be trying this out pretty soon.

At this point I think we'll download a trial version of PicVideo and see how that works for us.

Just a few questions:

1. With PicVideo are there also some rendering issues to overcome? Is setting RAM preview to 16 and rendering threads to 1, etc. also necessary?

2. When rendering an HD project in Vegas to PAL DVD - is it better to first render to .avi and then rendering that .avi to mpg2 video stream and AC-3 audio? or can we just render to mpg2 and AC-3 straight from the edited project?

Thanks!
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